Wireless Setup - using Wireless Router

Preparation for Wireless Network Setup

Let s make preparation for wireless network setup. You can decide what wireless devices you need after this reading. You also need to know what kind of wireless standard to be used in the network, either 802.11b, 802.11a or 802.11g.

Wireless Router or Wireless Access Point

Wireless router or wireless access point is the most important device you need when setting up wireless network. You use wireless router when you are just going to build your first network at home. If you already have Ethernet network at home, just get a wireless access point and connect it to network.

Now let s turn to wireless portion on your computer or notebook.

Wireless Adapter for Computer Users

You will need to have wireless adapter installed on your computer in order to join wireless network. It s just a PCI card with antenna which can be inserted to your computer motherboard.

Wireless PCMCIA card for Notebook Users

If you have notebook with Centrino wireless technology, then you are ready to connect to wireless network. It s just that simple.

If you are using other non-wireless ready notebooks, then you will need to install wireless PCMCIA card for accessing wireless network.

Some wireless PCMCIA card provides 50% greater range than standard 802.11g and support maximum bandwidth performance of 108 Mbps.

USB Wireless Adapter

Whether you are computer or notebook user, If you want to share wireless adapter with other computers, then you can consider to use USB wireless adapter. You can just plug/unplug the USB wireless adapter on the computer you wish to have wireless access. The size is pretty small and looks like USB thumb drive.

Wireless Setup - Connecting Wireless Router

This is quick wireless setup. Before you configure the wireless router, you need to physical set it up first. Try to place the router in position that will best cover your wireless network. Usually the higher you place the antenna, the better the performance will be.

Connect your cable/DSL modem to the WAN port of your wireless router by using straight Ethernet cable. After that, use another straight cable to connect router s LAN port to your computer s Ethernet port. Usually there are up to 4 or 5 LAN ports for you to connect to computers with network cable.

The reason for connecting wireless router to your computer is to configure the router for the first time through web. You can remove the cable after router configuration.

After setting up the network, we need to decide what IP addresses need to be used for wireless router and computers.

For the setup that here I m using, I use IP address 192.168.1.1-254, netmask 255.255.255.0.

Wireless Router Configuration

Now we can start to configure wireless router, and I will use Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router as an example. This router supports 802.11g and backward compatible with 802.11b standard. The authentications supported are WEP, WPA/WPA2 authentication with pre-shared key or RADIUS server.

Read the router manual before starting to configure it. This is useful for you to understand the router features and how to configure it. If the manual is not came together with router, you can download it from vendor website.

Sometimes the vendor will prepare some quick setup wizard to expedite router configuration, but I m not going to explain this method here. I will explain some important and common setting which will be found in most of the wireless routers from different vendors, so you can use wizard to start the installation and then check out the details here.

Also register your product at vendor website if possible. You will be notified of firmware update, security alert and also product related information.

Open your popular web browser (Internet Explorer, Opera, Netscape Communicator), then type http://192.168.1.1 and press "Enter". This IP address is factory default IP assigned to the router, you will be able to find it in wireless router manual. That s why I said it s important to read the manual.

You need to set computer with the IP sits in the network same as wireless router, so you can only access and configure it. In this scenario, I set computer IP as 192.168.1.10 (you can set 192.168.1.X, X= number between 2 and 254), netmask as 255.255.255.0 and gateway as 192.168.1.1.

After that, the logon screen will pop up, type in default user and password you found in router manual also. You will then log on to the router web-management page.

Here are the router settings that similar to wired network router.

WAN (Wide Area Network) Setting
LAN (Local Area Network) Setting
DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) Setting

These are additional setup that required to make wireless router works.

SSID and Other Basic Wireless Settings
Wireless Network Authentication

WAN (Wide Area Network) Setting

First go to Setup tab and click Basic Setup, this is the place you set public IP address provided by your ISP in order to access Internet. It can be one of these 5 options:

Automatic Configuration DHCP - Choose this option to obtain an IP address automatically from your ISP. (For most cable modem users). Optionally key in a name for this router. The default MAC address is set to the WAN s MAC address on the router.

Sometimes you will need to clone MAC address under MAC Address Clone tab. This feature is required by cable modem users with the service registration via computer network card s MAC address. That means the ISP will authenticate your network card s MAC address whenever you use the connection service. If so, you will need to click clone MAC address in order to clone the computer network card s MAC address to your network router. If you are not sure, check with your ISP technical support.

Static IP - Choose this option to set static IP information provided to you by your ISP. You will required to type in all network information manually if select this option. This option is mostly used by business users. Lot of works if use this option, try to avoid this if possible.

PPPoE - Choose this option if your ISP uses PPPoE. Your ISP will provide you with a username and password. This option is typically used for most DSL services.

PPTP - Same as PPPoE, This option is mostly used by DSL service users with provided username, password and IP information.

L2TP - This option is mostly used by DSL service users is Europe with provided username, password and L2TP server information.

Telstra Cable: This option is mostly used by DSL service users with provided username, password and Heart Beat server information.

As a cable modem user, I will choose Automatic Configuration DHCP option. I won't clone MAC address because the service registration is tied to cable modem's MAC address.

LAN (Local Area Network) Setting

At the same setup page, set up the IP address for the router. This will be the router/gateway IP address that you will set on your network computers. The LAN IP address is private in your home network and cannot be seen from the internet. I set my router with IP 192.168.1.1 and subnet mask 255.255.255.0.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) Setting

Most of the routers has built-in DHCP server, so does this router. The DHCP server will automatically assign an IP address to the computers in your wireless network. At the same setup page, you must specify the starting IP address, number of users and lease time. Lease time is the length of time for the IP assigned to the computer.

For my case, the starting IP Address is 192.168.1.2, maximum dhcp users is 50 and I set the Lease Time for 1 day (0 minutes).

SSID and Other Basic Wireless Setting

Now click Wireless tab and you will see Basic Wireless Settings. These are unique features for wireless router, it s not available for those wired routers:

Wireless Network Mode 3 wireless operating modes are supported, it can be 802.11b (B only), 802.11g (G only) or both (Mixed). I select Mixed, so that wireless client with 802.11b or 802.11g wireless network adapter can join the network.

Wireless Network Name (SSID) The SSID is the network name of this wireless network and must be identical for all devices in the network. When wireless clients first start up, they scan the wireless frequency band for special beacon frames that content SSID sent by wireless routers or access points, finally connect to the network that preferred by users.

SSID is case-sensitive and must not exceed 32 alphanumeric characters. Change it and don t use default SSID due to security concern. I set it as home-network.

Wireless Channel - There are 13 wireless channels (1-13) supported. All devices in your wireless network must use the same channel in order to function correctly. I select 13.

Wireless SSID Broadcast - If you enabled this feature, the router will broadcast SSID and would be detected by wireless clients in the network. For security concern, I would recommend you to disable it.

Wireless Network Authentication

Although wireless client can join wireless network without authentication, but it s dangerous! So please set authentication on wireless router, so that wireless client can only join the network after successful authentication. This router supports legacy WEP and WPA/WPA2 authentication with pre-shared key or RADIUS server.

Usually home users will use WEP, WPA personal or WPA2 personal security mode. WPA/WPA2 features are only available on 802.11g router, whereas WEP is the only authentication feature supported by 802.11b router.

Use WPA personal or WPA2 personal mode if supported by your wireless adapter. You need to supply pre-shared key for authentication. Choose AES as your WPA or WPA2 algorithm.

You can only use WPA-enterprise or WPA2-enterprise if you have set up RADIUS server. This is the WPA/WPA2 authentication with RADIUS server instead of pre-shared key .

If your network card is 802.11b standard, you need to choose WEP option, then set passphrase with 64 and 128 bits encryption.

You can leave group key as it is. This settings determines how often your group key changes.

Since my wireless network card can support WPA2, I use following setting.

You don't have to follow all settings I used above, you can also tune the wireless router as according to your needs.

One last thing that I would like to tell you, if you wish to connect all home computers to access to Internet via this router, please select Gateway mode in Setup->Advanced Routing page and save the setting. If another router exists on your network, then you can select Router mode.

Wireless Adapter Configuration in Vista

Let s talk about wireless adapter configuration in Vista here!
Configuring wireless adapter to join wireless network in Windows Vista is getting easier if you compare with Windows XP. Also Vista is capable to detect non-broadcasting wireless network (hidden SSID) and you can configure it as preferred network (this feature is not supported in XP).

Let s start to make it works

Wireless Adapter Driver Status and TCP/IP Setting

Install the wireless adapter driver correctly, if not it won t work. You can always get the latest driver firmware from manufacturer website and install it.

After that, you need to configure the TCP/IP setting on the wireless adapter with IP address, subnet mask, gateway and DNS manually or from DHCP server.

Note: If you have enabled DHCP setting on the wireless router, then you should select Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server address automatically on your wireless adapter s TCP/IP setting.

WLAN AutoConfig Service in Vista

What wireless utility you plan to use to detect wireless network and manage wireless network profile? You can use the wireless utility which is provided by wireless adapter manufacturer or the WLAN AutoConfig service from Vista. I like WLAN AutoConfig service, easy to use..

Easy Way to Connect Wireless Network

We are now ready to connect to existing wireless network, you can use Vista s Connect to feature to detect available wireless network, connect to it and then save the wireless network profile.

Creating the Wireless Network Profile Manually

If not, you can also create the wireless network profile manually and then connect to wireless network. This is useful especially the network that you plan to connect is not available now, but you know the connection settings.

Here is the way to do it:

1) Go to Start and right click on Network and then click Properties.

2) Network and Sharing Center window will appear, click on Set up a connection or network.

3) Set up a connection or network window will appear, click on Manually connect to a wireless network option and then click Next.

4) Here you need to enter the wireless network information (network name/SSID, security type, encryption type, security key) that you wish to connect. The supported security type are No authentication (Open), WEP, WPA2-Personal, WPA-Personal, WPA2-Enterprise, WPA-Enterprise and 802.1x. The supported encryption type are TKIP and AES. Click Next at last.

Note: Tick on Start this connection automatically option if you want it to connect automatically next time when it s in connecting range.

Note: Don t tick on Connect even if the network is not broadcasting option if possible for better security. The non-broadcasting wireless network will be show as Unnamed Network on Connect To window, you need to key in the network name (SSID) and security key in order to connect to it next time.

5) This final window will let you to connect to that created wireless network or change connection settings due to wrong settings. So, choose what you need to do..

Computer Name and Workgroup

You can now assign the computer name and workgroup to your computer, so that you can easily identify the computers in your network.

 

Related Topics :
Configure NETGEAR Wireless Router using the setup wizard

Setting up encryption on the Linksys Wireless G WRT54G router
How to Setup PPPoE on the Netgear Wireless G WGR614 router
Setting up encryption on the Belkin 54G Wireless router
How to setup Port Forwarding on the Netgear Wireless G WGR614 router
How to turn off DHCP on the Netgear Wireless G WGR614 router
Setting up PPPoE on the Linksys Wireless G WRT54G router.
How to setup encryption on the Netgear Wireless G WGR614 router
Setting up Port Forwarding on the Linksys Wireless G WRT54G router
How to turn off DHCP on the Linksys Wireless G WRT54G router.
Setting up encryption on the Belkin 54G Wireless router
Setting up Port Forwarding on the Belkin 54G Wireless router
Setting up PPPoE on the Belkin 54G Wireless router
How to turn off DHCP on the Belkin 54G Wireless router
Setting up encryption on the D-Link DL-524 Wireless router
Setting up PPPoE on the D-Link DL-524 Wireless router.
Setting up Port Forwarding on the D-Link DL-524 Wireless router

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